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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016 Nov 10;10(11):e0005074. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005074. eCollection 2016 Nov.

One Health Interactions of Chagas Disease Vectors, Canid Hosts, and Human Residents along the Texas-Mexico Border.

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Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas, United States of America.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, United States of America.
The University of Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health, Brownsville Regional Campus, Brownsville, Texas, United States of America.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Department of Biology, Edinburg, Texas, United States of America.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, McGovern Medical School, Houston, Texas, United States of America.
Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.



Chagas disease (Trypanosoma cruzi infection) is the leading cause of non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy in Latin America. Texas, particularly the southern region, has compounding factors that could contribute to T. cruzi transmission; however, epidemiologic studies are lacking. The aim of this study was to ascertain the prevalence of T. cruzi in three different mammalian species (coyotes, stray domestic dogs, and humans) and vectors (Triatoma species) to understand the burden of Chagas disease among sylvatic, peridomestic, and domestic cycles.


To determine prevalence of infection, we tested sera from coyotes, stray domestic dogs housed in public shelters, and residents participating in related research studies and found 8%, 3.8%, and 0.36% positive for T. cruzi, respectively. PCR was used to determine the prevalence of T. cruzi DNA in vectors collected in peridomestic locations in the region, with 56.5% testing positive for the parasite, further confirming risk of transmission in the region.


Our findings contribute to the growing body of evidence for autochthonous Chagas disease transmission in south Texas. Considering this region has a population of 1.3 million, and up to 30% of T. cruzi infected individuals developing severe cardiac disease, it is imperative that we identify high risk groups for surveillance and treatment purposes.

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